Hurricane Irma: Latest Travel Waivers and Updated Information

Note: Please click here for an article with updated information pertaining to Hurricane Irma.


If northern islands of the Caribbean Sea and the entire state of Florida are in your travel plans over the next few days, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather — due to the effects from Hurricane Irma, which continues to be a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour.

Hurricane Irma: Latest Travel Waivers and Updated Information

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma passed over Barbuda as it heads west towards Puerto Rico and other islands, which are outlined with purple lines. Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

Antigua and Barbuda — which were directly hit by Hurricane Irma — have reportedly not communicated with the outside world in greater than twelve hours. The news is not sounding good, according to the following “tweets” with unconfirmed conflicting reports:

 

Hundreds of flights and cruises have already been canceled as a result of Hurricane Irma, which is currently approximately 55 miles north northwest of San Juan in Puerto Rico and moving west northwest at 16 miles per hour. It is the textbook example of a powerful hurricane: compact yet symmetrical, with an eye which is clearly defined.

As much as 20 inches of rain, a storm surge as high as 20 feet, dangerous rip currents, rough high surf, beach erosion, power outages, and destructive winds capable of widespread damage to trees and to structures can be expected. The outermost bands of Hurricane Irma have already reached the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic within the past hour or so at the time this article was written.

Hurricane warnings have not only been issued for the northern Leeward Islands; but also for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos islands, and the northern coasts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Hurricane warnings have also been issued for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Saba, Saint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, Guadeloupe, Vieques and Culebra.

In addition, a tropical storm warning is in effect for Dominica; for the southern coast of the Dominican Republic; and for the west coast of Haiti.

A hurricane watch is currently in effect for the southeastern Bahamas and the eastern half of Cuba.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to anywhere in the islands of the northern Caribbean Sea and southern Florida over the next few days, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this tropical weather system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions and traffic problems.

Here are 20 airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system:

  • Delta Air Lines has issued travel alerts for 27 airports in total:
    • San Juan, Turks and Caicos, Saint Maarten, Punta Cana, Santiago, Saint Croix and Saint Thomas for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Saturday, September 9, 2017; and Tuesday, September 12, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Havana, three airports in the Bahamas, and 16 airports in Florida for Wednesday, September 6, 2017 through Sunday, September 17, 2017; and Saturday, September 30, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • American Airlines has canceled all flights to and from Miami for Saturday, September 9, 2017 through Sunday, September 10, 2017; and has issued travel alerts for 37 airports in total:
    • Anguilla, Antigua, Turks and Caicos, Saint Kitts, Saint Maarten, San Juan, three airports in both sets of the Virgin Islands, two airports in Haiti, and four airports in the Dominican Republic for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Saturday, September 9, 2017; and Tuesday, September 12, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Six airports in Cuba, six airports in the Bahamas, and ten airports in Florida for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Tuesday, September 12, 2017; and Friday, September 15, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued travel alerts for 13 airports in total:
    • Aguadilla and San Juan in Puerto Rico for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Thursday, September 7, 2017; and Monday, September 11, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Providenciales, Havana, Nassau and four airports in the Dominican Republic for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Saturday, September 9, 2017; and Tuesday, September 12, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach — all in Florida — for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Tuesday, September 12, 2017; and Friday, September 15, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • JetBlue Airways has issued travel alerts for 25 airports in total:
    • Antigua, three airports in Puerto Rico, and three airports in the Virgin Islands for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Thursday, September 7, 2017; and Monday, September 11, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Providenciales, Nassau, four airports in Cuba, and four airports in the Dominican Republic for Wednesday, September 6, 2017 through Friday, September 8, 2017; and Monday, September 11, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Eight airports in Florida for Wednesday, September 6 through Sunday, September 10, 2017; and Tuesday, September 12, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Alaska Airlines has issued travel alerts for Havana and three airports in Florida for Wednesday, September 6, 2017 through Tuesday, September 12, 2017; and Tuesday, September 19, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Southwest Airlines has issued travel alerts for ten airports — six of which are located in Florida — for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Wednesday, September 13, 2017; and Wednesday, September 27, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Spirit Airlines has issued travel alerts for ten airports in total:
    • Two airports in Puerto Rico and Saint Thomas for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Thursday, September 7, 2017; and Monday, September 11, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Two airports in the Dominican Republic and Port-au-Prince for Thursday, September 7, 2017 through Friday, September 8, 2017; and Tuesday, September 12, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando and Tampa for Wednesday, September 6, 2017 through Monday, September 11, 2017; and Saturday, September 16, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Frontier Airlines has issued travel alerts for two airports in Puerto Rico and five airports in Florida for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Tuesday, September 12, 2017; and Sunday, October 15, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Allegiant Air has issued travel alerts for Puerto Rico and five airports in Florida for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Saturday, September 9, 2017; and Saturday, September 23, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin. In addition, at least 44 flights have already been canceled.
  • Air Canada has issued travel alerts for 14 airports and all airports served in Florida:
    • Antigua, Port au Prince, Santa Clara, Guadeloupe, and three airports in the Dominican Republic for Monday, September 4, 2017 through Friday, September 8, 2017; and Sunday, October 1, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Providenciales, Nassau, Exuma, and four airports in Cuba for Monday, September 4, 2017 through Sunday, September 10, 2017; and Sunday, October 1, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • All airports served by Air Canada in Florida for Monday, September 4, 2017 through Monday, September 11, 2017; and Sunday, October 1, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • WestJet Airways has issued travel alerts for the Antigua, Barbuda, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos, Providenciales, Nassau, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Florida for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Monday, September 11, 2017.
  • Air Transat has issued travel alerts for Port au Prince, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, four airports in Cuba, and four airports in the Dominican Republic through Monday, September 11, 2017. Additionally, numerous flights have either been rescheduled or canceled.
  • Aeromexico has issued travel alerts for four airports in total:
    • Havana and Santo Domingo for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Saturday, September 9, 2017; and Tuesday, September 12, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Miami and Orlando for Wednesday, September 6, 2017 through Sunday, September 10, 2017; and Thursday, September 14, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Copa Airlines has issued travel alerts for Saint Martin, Port au Prince, Nassau, San Juan, three airports in Cuba, three airports in the Dominican Republic, and four airports in Florida for Monday, September 4, 2017 through Tuesday, September 12, 2017; and Saturday, September 30, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Sunwing has issued travel alerts for Puerto Plata, Cuba, the Bahamas, and Saint Martin or St Maarten, as one flight to Toronto and another flight to Montréal which were originally scheduled to depart Tuesday, September 5, 2017 have been rescheduled to Thursday, September 7, 2017 due to the closure of the airport.
  • Caribbean Airlines has issued travel alerts for Fort Lauderdale, Sint Maarten, Nassau and Port of Spain for Friday, September 8, 2017 through Saturday, September 9, 2017; and Sunday, September 17, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin. Additionally, numerous flights have either been rescheduled or canceled.
  • InselAir has issued a travel alert for Saint Martin or St Maarten for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Wednesday, September 6, 2017, as all flights to and from this airport have been canceled.
  • Virgin Atlantic Airlines has issued a travel alert for Antigua for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Monday, September 11, 2017; and Thursday, October 12, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • British Airways has issued travel alerts for five airports for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Sunday, September 10, 2017; and Saturday, September 30, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has issued a travel alert for Saint Martin or St Maarten for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Wednesday, September 6, 2017; and Monday, September 11, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Links to Travel Alerts for Cruise Lines

As I have received numerous requests pertaining to cruises, here are the links to three cruise lines pertaining to Hurricane Irma:

  • Royal Caribbean International has issued this travel alert which states that two Bahamas cruises and one Cuba cruise have been canceled and that they “are closely monitoring Hurricane Irma’s path and its potential impact to our current and upcoming sailings.” The schedules of several other cruises have been modified.
  • Carnival Cruise Line has issued this travel alert which states that two cruises have been cancelled and that the cruise line is “closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Irma and thus far have made itinerary changes to ensure our ships maintain a safe distance from the storm. In addition we are making preparations for a potential landfall in South Florida. The safety of our guests and team members is our first priority. We will continue to make adjustments as necessary and will provide further updates as they become available.”
  • MSC Cruises has issued this travel alert which states that one cruise ship is heading directly back to Miami for passengers to e=disembark safely prior to the arrival of the storm; and that “Hurricane Irma has now developed into category 5 and is still over the Eastern Caribbean. We are closely monitoring the weather situation. No changes to MSC Divina’s itinerary are required at this point. Next update to follow later in the day.”

Summary

Expect more travel alerts from additional airlines and cruise lines over the next several days to be expanded; and I will do my best to inform you if your travel plans are indeed affected.

I will do my best to continue to answer your questions pertaining to Hurricane Irma, as I have done in this article and in this article. If I am missing the travel alerts of any airlines or cruise lines, please ask, as I intend to update this article until a new article is warranted.

If you are located in the southeastern United States, keep yourself updated with the latest information so that you are able to evacuate as early as possible if the weather forecast becomes bleak and threatening.

Do not panic or “freak out” if your travels are to be impacted by this powerful hurricane — just be prepared. Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

38 thoughts on “Hurricane Irma: Latest Travel Waivers and Updated Information”

  1. Anju says:

    Hello, I and my family are scheduled to travel to NYC from 29 Sep to 2 Oct , from India and will be in Orlando as from 2 Oct to 9 Oct, 2017. Pls advise if the forecasts are non-risky as of now for said period, for vacationing at those places. Thanks.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Your trip from India should be fine, Anju — unless there is major damage caused by Hurricane Irma in Orlando…

      …however — as you will be there in October — a month should be ample time for significant recovery.

      New York will most likely not be adversely affected by Irma, which would most likely be a rain event if it reaches New York.

  2. Shirley says:

    Dear Brian,
    My son is traveling from NY to Orlando on September 14 and his return flight is September 18th.
    What the storm affect his flight?
    Thank you!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      The storm is expected to pass by or through Orlando on Sunday, September 10, Shirley; so it will most likely not directly affect his flight.

      The biggest concern is what damage will Orlando sustain from Hurricane Irma and how it will affect your son’s travels.

  3. C de la CruZ says:

    We’re flying from Chicago to Orlando Sept 13. We’re thinking that the flight should be fine, although there may be some delays. We full expect to experience traffic when we arrive too.

    We’re on the fence about pushing the flight to Thursday. Do you suspect delays would be all well encounter, or is there a risk of flight cancellation?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      The storm is expected to pass by or through Orlando on Sunday, September 10, C de la CruZ; so it will likely not directly affect your flight — unless the storm slows down in its track or unless the airline on which you booked your flight needs to redistribute its equipment or undergoes systemwide disruptions…

      …and another concern is what damage will Orlando sustain from Hurricane Irma and how it will affect your travels.

      You should be able to change your itinerary without penalty; and you have time to be better informed before you need to decide. I personally would wait and monitor updates pertaining to Hurricane Irma.

  4. Paola Vargas says:

    We’re flying from Mexico to Miami Oct 5. I’m thinking that the flight should be fine, that’s correct?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You should have no problems with your flight with regards to Hurricane Irma, Paola Vargas.

  5. joan says:

    we’re traveling to Puerto plata in the Dominican republic on September 16 to the 23rd. The hurricane will be over by then but what kind of damage is to be expected do you think the storm will impact our vacation

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Hurricane Irma did not directly hit the Dominican Republic, joan; so the damage will be comparably minimal.

      Flooding will be the main issue; but much of it will have subsided by the time you arrive.

      Hurricane José could pose a minimal threat; so please keep an eye on that storm.

      Otherwise, have a good time and travel safely!

  6. joan says:

    we’re going to Dominican republic Porta Plata from September 16 to the 23rd how will the storm impact the resort and the area we are going to would be smart to delay our travels for another time

  7. José Leon says:

    Hello Brian,

    Thank you for your useful post. Me and my family we’re traveling to Miami on Friday 15 and taking a car and driving to Orlando on the same day to visit the parks until September 23. Do you think we should post-pone our trip? Thanks for your advice.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      In my opinion, you are traveling too soon after the hurricane is expected to pass by or through Florida, José Leon; so significant issues may still cause logistical problems due to the potential damage that Hurricane Irma is expected to inflict.

      I would personally recommend postponing the trip.

      1. Jose Leon says:

        Thanks Brian for your reply, when do you think we should travel to orlando to visit the parks. When do you think all the issues regarding the hurricane will be solved.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          I cannot give a definitive answer because now is too early to tell, Jose Leon, as not enough information is currently available.

          Keep in mind that roller coasters are usually more susceptible to damage in hurricanes than other structures; so depending on the track of Hurricane Irma and the potential destruction it may cause, I would wait until it passes — which is expected on Monday, September 11 — to reach an informed decision.

  8. Peter Gliams says:

    Would a flight from IL to Columbia, SC be effected if it’s on 09/12?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      As of the information which is currently available, Peter Gliams: yes.

      Tuesday, September 12 is when Columbia is expected to be impacted by the hurricane. Expect your flight to be canceled — and possibly the airport itself closed.

  9. Iris Sandoval says:

    Travelling to Puerto Plata on the 11 of September from Orlando, fl.. flight has been cancelled at both ends, Orlando, Fl and my connection in the Miami, Florida. Would it be safe to reschedule for Tuesday to Puerto Plata?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Flooding will be the main issue, Iris Sandoval; and rough surf and high tides might be possible due to Hurricane José, which will be out in the Atlantic Ocean well north of the Dominican Republic.

      Tuesday might be too soon to travel — not because of safety; but because of any residual damage. If you can, consider waiting at least a week before traveling so that both Orlando and Puerto Plata have a chance to recover.

  10. Debby says:

    Hello

    Mu husband and I have travel plans for San Juan October 18 thru 25th. Our concern is the damage in Puerto Rico. For lack of a better phrasing, do you think island sustained enough damage that our vacation will be affected?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      The answer depends on where you are going in Puerto Rico, Debby. Flooding has been the main issue there.

      I believe that your trip in late October should be okay — barring the development of any future tropical systems — but I suggest you wait until at least Monday, September 11 before deciding on what to do, as Hurricane José is supposed to have passed by then and could cause some additional damage. Contact your airline and hotel or resort properties at which you plan to stay to find out more information.

  11. Marc Fersten says:

    Hi, our trip in September 9 with MSc was cancelled. Due you think the destinations with MSC, Ochoa Rios, Couzemel, grand cayman and Nassau will be ok for September 23 or is it too soon. Thank you and stay safe

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      The only location of that itinerary which is expected to suffer a significant impact from Hurricane Irma is Nassau, Marc Fersten. The other locations should be okay by September 23.

      You might experience some rough surf, higher tides and possibly dangerous rip currents if you go to the beaches.

      Otherwise, you should be okay. I have heard good things about MSC. They should keep you updated.

      Travel safely — and have a great time!

  12. Eric says:

    Traveling to Orlando for the parks with family of 7, Sept 23-30th – Worth looking at alternatives due to Irma?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Walt Disney World just closed for the weekend, Eric. This is only the fifth time that it has closed since it first opened. Universal Studios Orlando will not open until at least Tuesday, September 12.

      Structures such as roller coasters are typically not designed to withstand the brunt of major hurricanes and could be significantly damaged as a result. Depending on that potential damage, two weeks may or may not be enough time for the theme parks to be completely functional again.

      I would get the alternatives planned and ready just in case significant damage occurs in the theme parks. Fortunately, you have plenty of time to be definitively informed and decide once Hurricane Irma heads away from Orlando.

  13. Eduardo says:

    Dear Brian,

    How’s the damage in Orlando. Me family and I have tickets to arrive at Miami this Friday 15. The plan was to pick up the car and travel by car to Orlando and start visiting the parks on the 16. We are having trouble rescheduling and getting a refund for our rented vacation home in Orlando. Do you think there will be some important recovery by the 15. What are you recommendations?

  14. Eduardo says:

    Dear Brian,

    How’s the damage in Orlando. Me family and I have tickets to arrive at Miami this Friday 15. The plan was to pick up the car and travel by car to Orlando and start visiting the parks on the 16. We are having trouble rescheduling and getting a refund for our rented vacation home in Orlando. Do you think there will be some important recovery by the 15. What are you recommendations???

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Unfortunately, Eduardo, a definitive answer to your question is still too soon at this time.

      This article was posted only two hours ago from the Orlando Sentinel:

      http://www.orlandosentinel.com/weather/hurricane/os-bz-when-will-disney-reopen-20170911-story.html

      “Universal Orlando’s parks are closed, and its on-property resorts remained open. A spokeswoman said the park was still assessing damage, but the company was still working toward reopening on Tuesday.

      “SeaWorld Orlando and its day resort Discovery Cove are not open. A spokeswoman for said no significant damage was found in initial checks on Monday at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens in Tampa.

      “‘All facilities have electricity and personnel and animals are safe,’ she said.

      “Other attractions followed suit, including Legoland Florida, the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye observation wheel, Gatorland and others. Most are monitoring weather conditions to make a decision about Tuesday operations.”

      The damage — if any — does not seem like it is significant.

      If you can, Eduardo, wait until tomorrow before arriving at a final decision.

  15. Jayant says:

    When a united will start flights for Tampa from Chicago.

  16. Jayant says:

    When united will start floghts fro Chicago to Tampa international airport.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Tampa International Airport remains closed for today, Jayant.

      Flights are likely to resume either tomorrow or Wednesday — depending on the airline.

      No definitive statement has been released from United Airlines about the resumption of service to Tampa at this time. If flights do resume tomorrow, chances are that some flights may still be canceled.

  17. Natalie says:

    Hello Brian! Thank you for your service…My fiancé and i planned to marry in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico on Friday September 8, 2017, arriving Labor Day Monday September 4th, 2017 and had family & friends also flying in to celebrate our destination wedding on different days this past week. We decided to postpone by late Mon, early Tuesday and are glad we did but of course are very disappointed. We would like to reschedule and pick up where we left off getting married on the west side of the island at the private residence we have planned to originally but there are a lot of moving parts in doing so..my question is should we push our trip out closer to the first of the year to ensure we are out of the hurricane season and give the island time to recover? I am getting mixed messages from the media and from what some of our vendors are telling us and frankly am personally heartbroken for us as well as those who had to endure hurricane “Irma” . Also, is it true most of Puerto Rico won’t have power for 3-4 months? Any insight would be helpful (we don’t have cable or reg tv-we are Amazon Prime users:) Thank you for your time!
    Bride to be??? Natalie M.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Hurricane season officially ends on November 30 of every year; and the development of tropical systems are rare in November. Right now is the peak of hurricane season — so of course a lot of activity is occurring. You can travel as soon as in November if you want to avoid hurricanes but do not want to wait until next year…

      …but infrastructure seems to be more of the issue here. I would not be surprised if some areas of Puerto Rico are without power for extended periods of time; but much of the major cities and resort areas should be up and running, as they would get first priority to earn those badly-needed tourist dollars. Ask the owners of that private residence as to the latest update of the current status for more definitive information.

      Finally, Natalie, perspective may be in order here: the most important aspect is you and your fiancé spending the rest of your lives together with as much love, health, wealth and happiness as possible. Yes, you will eventually shed your “bride-to-be” status and spend the rest of your life with your significant other — but think of the stories you will tell 20 years from now about this experience. Priceless!

  18. Dannie says:

    I have a trip planned for fourtlauderdale oct.5- oct.8 . Do you think we should cancle and reschedule?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I see no reason to cancel and reschedule your trip, Dannie.

      The airport opened for operations once again today; and if you are traveling by airplane, operations should be fully restored by then barring any other significant weather event.

      For peace of mind, you can contact the place where you are staying and ask for an update from their point of view.

      Otherwise, travel safely and enjoy a successful trip.

  19. Nasim Kanji says:

    Travellingto Dominican Republic on Oct 5thh. How is the situation at the moment

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      As of now, Hurricane Maria is expected to impact the Dominican Republic as early as Thursday, September 22, Nasim Kanji; so depending on how extensive is the damage — in addition to what was already caused by Hurricane Irma — will depend on what the situation will be for October 5…

      …but exactly what is going to happen is unclear at this time. Please stand by for a few days and wait until additional information and detailed updates are known.

  20. Nasim Kanji says:

    My son and his family are travelling to Dominican Reublic on Oct 5th. Please inform us what thr situation is at the moment. thanks

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